Interim findings from the ‘Pain Disability Prevention Trial’, currently running at the Centre for Pain Research at the university, show promising results for people with back pain.
The researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of an active rehabilitation programme which allows patients who are off work due to back pain the opportunity to attend 10 free one-to-one sessions with a Clinical Psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation locally in Donegal.
The aim of the sessions is to help patients to gradually increase their level of activity and help manage their pain.
Sessions focus on a range of pacing techniques, cognitive therapy to identify any unhelpful thinking patterns and the development of activity goals, stretches and exercising to improve physical function.
Miriam Raftery, Researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, said: “The initial trends show that those who took part in the rehabilitation sessions had improvements in overall level of functioning and activity levels, as well as significant reductions in stress and anxiety, compared to those who didn’t take part in the programme. This suggests that the active rehabilitation programme may be beneficial in improving overall quality of life among those with back pain.”
Sue, 54, who took part in the free sessions earlier this year, says that they helped her to structure her day and acknowledge completed tasks; “It helped me realize that, prior to the sessions, every day was more or less the same. I am now back to full time employment after four years. I think the programme really helped me with this.”
Tom, 37, says he found the programme “very beneficial” and said it was very helpful to have the set appointment every week; “I will miss the sessions enormously,” he says.
The researchers are still recruiting people to take part in this trial in Donegal. All appointments take place locally in either Letterkenny or Buncrana. Those interested in taking part do not need to travel to Galway at any point.
The researchers are interested in hearing from people who are unable to work or are on reduced work hours due to back pain. Lead researcher Dr. Brian McGuire said; “We are very encouraged with the early results of this programme, it has made a significant difference in the activity levels of a number of people with chronic pain.”
For further information about taking part, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email Miriam.firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 091 495 830 or see the trial website: www.nuigalway.ie/pdp. GPs and physiotherapists interested in referring patients to the trial are also invited to contact this number.